Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian who survived life at the Nazi concentration camps, was asked by a reporter in a press conference if it was difficult remaining humble while hearing so much acclaim. She replied immediately, “Young man, when Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday on the back of a donkey, and everyone was waving palm branches and throwing garments in the road and singing praises, do you think that for one moment it ever entered the head of that donkey that any of that was for him?” She continued, “If I can be the donkey on which Jesus Christ rides in His glory, I give Him all the praise and all the honor.”
I heard this illustration at last week's Bible Study Fellowship lecture in Auburn, California. It struck me afresh just how much Jesus sacrificed when he set aside Kingly glory to take on flesh, to walk this earth for 33 years and to then go to the cross.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus who,
though he was in the form of God,
did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him
the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
~ Philippians 2:5-11
Jesus was/is GOD, very GOD, yet he chose to set aside everything for the sake of bridging the gigantic, unfathomable chasm that existed between Holy God and frail man. Jesus laid down what was rightfully HIS - the glory that he enjoyed with the Father before the world began (see John 17:5 and John 1:1).
Both the donkey and Jesus offer me examples of godly humility. The donkey never thought the honor and praise was for him (so often I do!) and Jesus himself set aside his "rights" as God the Son to do the will of the Father--to meet the great need of humans for a Savior.
How unlike Jesus I am. I grab for what I think is mine: "My food! My body! My way! My will! MINE MINE MINE!" like the gulls in the Finding Nemo movie. I am not even like the donkey. Instead, I am eager to claim any praise as "MINE! MINE! MINE!" as well.
This attitude is a stumbling block for me in my quest to grow more like Jesus. Sanctification is a process...a long, slow, arduous process of relinquishing, clamoring for what is "lost," surrendering yet again, grabbing it back again, and on and on it goes. I must humbly acknowledge that all that I am, all that I have is for nothing if it is outside of God's perfect will for me.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world,
yet forfeits his soul?
Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
~ Matthew 16:25-26
Today, I will stop hollering "MINE! MINE! MINE!" I will keep in mind the donkey who humbly carried Jesus out into the world. I will ponder the example of my Savior who possessed everything, but, for my sake gave it all up. I will choose to release my hold on things to which I cling and throw wide my arms to the unknown (and somewhat frightening) possibilities found when I walk in the heart of God's will.
Practically Speaking: What is something you declare is "MINE! MINE! MINE!" that God may be calling you to lay down? I don't have to look much farther than what I eat to find an answer to that. Am I really hungry? Is my body calling for food? Talk about mundane! God uses even something as commonplace as food to show me just how greedy and grabby I am for what isn't mine.